Let’s talk about the weather. Yes, some of this will be about dull meteorological estimates and, if I were technically capable, I am sure would have tried to include graphs. But the rest of this commentary–the whole of this piece–is about apocalyptic fantasies that glow at the extreme edges of all belief systems. You see every story has to end, in some way.
I have posted essays far more rarely as of late–the other day and the day before–but that is because I am working on a rather long study of every President in the history of the United States of America, with addendum including Sam Houston and Jefferson Davis. That is a vast editorial, utilizing facts to form my own judgmental opinions. Some leaders are mostly decorated with praise, legends who stand above all other men. There are far more men who have been damned into shame, crushed by scandals, poor decisions, moral outrage and bad, bad luck.
But that has another other place. What we really need to talk about here the immediate concerns, the threat of Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Carolina’s, alongside two other swirling nightmares in the Atlantic, spinning themselves dry out in the Ocean, raising the surf. The Pacific has a couple too, but they tend more to go towards Asia, destroying many islands along its path.
Low Pressure Systems mix with High Pressure Systems and those get taken over by a third system blowing in whichever direction will tip the earth open and pour out a massive storm. This happens in Winter and it happens in Spring. The Fall is the worst: Hurricane Season! Over the Summer, if the rain isn’t too bad, the heat is brutal. Crushing high temperatures. Very little moisture. The earth is drying and cracked in some places. Death Valley. A place where nothing could survive. These seem to be a places the weather is afraid to go.
But the real threat is with our beliefs. For all the horror and the carnage that storms such as this sometimes reap, the flicking of editorial opinion that makes up, somehow, a petty debate over what has happened to our world:
We’ve got the God argument, an angry Lord making Its judgment upon the world, condemning humanity. Why worship such a God? A God like this sure seems like a Big Fucking Asshole. Or we have the floating inebriation of a Savior of the World, a superhero worship, of sorts. Right now Superheroes really are America’s, perhaps the world’s, most popular sort of entertainment. Do you think it has ever been any different? Millions of gods representing every human instinct imaginable. Then came “Only One God,” who is Master of everything. I suspect that this historical myth, ‘The Master of the masters,” was the result of slavery, the punishment by the rich to onto anyone who might still be poor. Some Holy Bad Ass was going to come out of the crowd and say “No More!” And then It will use Its flood powers, or something, wipe the earth clean. That’s the sort of bullshit Superhero God fulfills.
The No God argument also has its shrill and obnoxious extremes. Have you ever spoken to a Fundamentalist who’s mind is so entirely made up about something that they won’t even hear you speak? There are angry radicals–“Wrong! Wrong! It is stupid what you believe!” And we may even agree with this, which is every bit as fine as a lax Christian or a fallen Jew showing up to the temple on the holidays, struggling the rest of their lives to make it in this world.
But it’s still the same lecture. It is only ‘believe what I say or be punished.’ That is the S & M God of Today.
The end of the world to the atheist can take on some of the most horrifying scenes. It is one thing to have the demons and monsters of organized monotheistic religions–something to scare you and a lesson on what to avoid. Life is so simple! But to the non-believer, we are always on a quest to undercover the truth about something.
Let’s look at global catastrophe. Diseases spread throughout the world at an alarming rate, killing off much of the human population. We go into survivalist mode, only we never really wind up getting anywhere because most days are empty and your children are getting sick. Some of us have dreams of being the innovator who starts us back on the road to civilization, or whichever substitution for the Messiah we choose to envision.
Or you may even have your ‘zombie uprising,’ a terrifying replacement of an afterlife. You keep going on–Godless. Paranoid. Alone. And anyone who still might be left, shining the light of a different god into some dark corner of the mind, the zombies will eventually destroy. Zombies are a stark version of biblical apocalypse, only without a Superhero God. There is no superhero god. Life is just miserable and we are all destined to die.
Hurricanes are now in the news and we have to think about the rising frequency and power of these storms. Remember last winter, here on the East Coast, USA? It was actually rather hot for most of the first part of the winter. It got cold, colder, and occasionally we’d have a light dusting of snow we had to scrape off our cars. School was never cancelled. It was Early November until February.
Then the coastal storms started, just like they would six months later, in ‘hurricane season.’ We had raging blizzards and snow storms. One on top of the other. Ten inches followed by seven the next day. A day or two off, struggling to shovel yourself out of your entrapment. It even gets unseasonably warm. Maybe the winter is finally over?
Another snowstorm–the biggest yet, fourteen, sixteen inches just as the remaining snow was wet, dirty clumps, covered with grit and stones. It was still iced up in small piles and any morning moisture was going to create a very slippery walk or drive. This creates a nightmare that knocks down trees and blows the power out. People struggle. Some elderly and homeless people die. Others take it with good nature, even laughing and rolling their eyes.
The next day is seventy degrees and the floods start consuming everything, many basements, filled with their memories, getting drowned. You don’t even really need to shovel that day, the water pouring down and washing the whole world away. You throw down some more rock salt that you’d managed to acquire from somewhere on one of your days off. The streets are washed clean. It is Spring . . .
Eighteen, Twenty inches in some places. People already struggling with downed wires and falling trees are now in even worse shape. The subject becomes pure survival, like an ant fleeing back to the colony before getting crushed. We knew thought things could get this bad, but . . . Ahhhhhhhhhh!
Science can tell you many things, and even provide answers and insights into why things are the way they are. We can alter biology and use chemistry to create a new cell. Physics tells us that anything is possible, giving a sign as to how the idea of God has changed through the centuries ,and with the development of the apocalyptic technology you sit there staring into right now, and worrying about your children’s overuse of the things you are obsessed with. It is always an idea of God, even the belief that there never was and never could be any such Thing.
So the end of the world is a threat we all need to give us hope that we might find a way to sneak out of the inevitable. We watch the gloomy haze in the sky and wonder if we are going extinct. It is a passing thought, before the weather clears and you are bound up with your life once more. We forget and ignore the continuing signs that the end may be near and that all of us, no matter which way your want to dream it, are doomed.